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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Wednesday, 28 November 2029

Last Minute Changes / News

Sunset this Saturday (23 November) is at 4.02pm: with light for walking until 4.30pm.

Scotland 2020 will take place in Roybridge 16-23 May 2020 (see information below).

Things to look out for in the last phase of leaf fall: see Nature Blog

Saturday, 16 May 2020

Scotland 2020: Roybridge

Plans are afoot for the SWC 2020 trip to Scotland during the week of 16 May to 23 May 2020.  We have secured a combination of properties in the small highland village of Roybridge (about 13 miles from Fort William). The area has walks of all abilities. For more information on the area, see Roybridge information. For more information about the trip and to check availability, please contact goepfertkarenATyahooDOTcom.

Sunday, 8 December 2019

Sunday Walk - A Coastal Classic: Winchelsea to Hastings

Length: 19.5 km (12.1 mi)
Ascent/Descent: 495 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours
Toughness: 7 out of 10

[Sunset down there on the coast will be at 15.52, giving sufficient light for walking to 16.20 at least. And the last 20 minutes or so are along lit streets.]

Take the 09.42 Minster train from St. Pancras I’nal (09.49 Stratford  I’nal), change at Ashford (10.19/10.25) onto the Eastbourne service, arriving Winchelsea at 10.51
From Victoria take the 08.41 train to Ashford via Bromley South and Sevenoaks, arrives 10.03. 
Return trains: xx.19 (Victoria), xx.26 (St. Pancras via Ashford), xx.31 xx.50 (both Charing X).
Buy a Hastings Return  (incl. High Speed Surcharge).

A gentle start through the marshes along the 1066 Country-Path and two pubs to choose from. After lunch, a great coastal cliff-walk with 4 steep climbs before fish and chips on Hastings seafront and the finish through the Old Town up to the station.

There is a “Christmas Pop-Up Emporium” at the Stade Hall on the Seafront, but only to 16.00 hours…

For  walk directions, a map, a height profile, gpx/kml files, and photos click here.

Lunch: The Queen’s Head in Icklesham (4.7 km/2.9 mi, food from 12.00) or The Royal Oak in Pett (8.0 km/5.0 mi, food all day).
Tea: Plenty options in Hastings. See the webpage or the pdf for details. T=1.25

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

Christmas Party

Ho Ho Ho, it is that time of the year, we are getting together once again to celebrate this wonderful walking club and to thank our webmaster and walk posters/trip organisers for their tireless hard work throughout the year.

The party will be held at the familiar venue The Ship - 68 Borough Road, Southwark, London, SE1 1DX from 6:30pm.  

As in the previous years, the club will provide some nibbles and snacks.  If you wish to have dinner in the pub, normal bar menu is available.  Food served till 9pm.  You can find menu here

Here is a toast to another year of SWC Walking Club.  Merry Christmas everyone!

Saturday, 30 November 2019

Saturday Walk - West Wiltshire Downs: Tisbury Circular via Hindon (Last Chance for a walk from Waterloo b4 the Great Strike!)

Length: 21.9 km (13.6 mi) [shorter walk possible]
Ascent/Descent: 465 m
Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours
Toughness: 7 out of 10

[Sunset out there in the west will be at 16.05, giving sufficient light for walking  to 16.30 at least. With a short lunch therefore, it shouldn’t be a problem. But the walk can be cut by 3 km in the p.m., should you fall behind schedule.]

Take the 09.20 Exeter St. David's & Bristol Temple Meads train from  Waterloo (09.27 Clapham J., 09.46 Woking), arriving Tisbury at 11.06.  
Return trains: 17.01, 18.01, 18.27, 19.03, 20.01, 21.01, 22.03.

This walk leads mostly around the very large Fonthill Estate in the West Wiltshire Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, which is spectacular walking country with some breath-taking views. You’ll find picturesque villages and excellent pubs in the beautiful undulating countryside, as well as plenty of woodlands and some dry chalky U-shaped downland valleys. The morning route is a steady ascent out of Tisbury along the scenic Oddford Vale to the highest point of the walk. This stretch is also characterised by some slack way-marking though, and a map and a compass are recommended.
The walk then leads through a grassy valley and across a wooded ridge to lunch in Hindon, where the two recommended pubs are right opposite each other. Most of the ascent lies before lunch, but there are still two climbs through woods in the afternoon. The final part of the walk is a scenic descent into the Nadder Valley and then passes one of Britain’s largest thatched buildings, followed by a stretch along the river back into Tisbury, a remarkably unspoilt village.

Shortcut I just after lunch  reduces the walk by 1.8 km (1.1 mi), Shortcut II at the end reduces the walk by 1.3 km (0.8 mi) (and the last 10 mins of walking would then be along residential roads).

For  walk directions, a map, a height profile, gpx/kml files, and photos click here.

Lunch: The Angel Inn (under new management and re-opened 18 Nov) or The Lamb  in Hindon (10.4 km/6.4 mi, food to 15.00). 
There are several other good pubs en route in the afternoon, see the webpage or the pdf for details.

Tea: Tisbury has a tearoom, a deli, a supermarket, two pubs (one may be shut for the afternoon when you get there) and a bistro/wine bar. See the webpage or the pdf for details. T=swc.248

Sunday, 24 November 2019

Historic places in the Darent valley

Sunday walk: Otford to Eynsford
Length: 14.1km (8.8 miles) Toughness: 5/10

10:25Ashford International train from Victoria (Bromley South 10:42) arriving at Otford at 11:00.

Return trains from Eynsford to Blackfriars, calling at numerous stations in south-east London are at xx:11 and xx:41 (journey time 53 mins). Change at Bromley South for a fast train to Victoria (total journey time 40 minutes).

This walk takes in several historic sites on a route in the Darent valley that runs through fields and woods and alongside the River Darent. From Otford it passes the unique Otford Solar System before traversing potentially muddy fields and climbing through woods before descending to lunch in Shoreham. An alternative start is suggested if recent weather conditions mean that the main route is likely to be exceptionally muddy. A further climb after lunch takes the route through Lullingstone Park before descending past Lullingstone Castle and Lullingstone Roman Villa to Eynsford, with an optional detour to the Eagle Heights Birds of Prey Centre.

At lunchtime you can choose between four pubs in Shoreham, including the King’s Arms (01969 523100), and the Two Brewers (01959 522800.

You will need to download the walk directions.


In Bunyan's footsteps in Bedfordshire

Sunday walk: Harlington Circular
Length: 17.3km (10.7 miles) Toughness: 3/10

09:39Thameslink train to Bedford from Blackfriars (St Pancras 09:48) arriving at Harlington at 10:35.

Return trains are at 06, 20, 36 and 52 minutes past the hour (or 4 minutes earlier if returning from Flitwick). Journey time 57 to 62 minutes. On the xx:06 train you could save 10 or 15 minutes by changing at Luton.

Buy a Super Off-Peak Day Return to Flitwick. This costs the same as a return to Harlington and gives you the option of finishing in Flitwick if your companions persuade you to do one of the longer versions of the walk.

This circular walk is a shortened version of the full 15.2-mile Harlington to Flitwick walk and feels more appropriate for this time of year, but the reasonably early start may induce some walkers to attempt to reach Flitwick, possibly by taking the two short cuts which reduce the distance to 11.9 miles.

The most attractive part of the walk, with the finest views, takes you over the Sundon Hills and the Sharpenhoe Clappers. This comes near the start and is covered in all versions of the walk. The route continues through rolling fields to the lunch pub in the hilltop village of Pulloxhill, before a short, gentle, afternoon section back to Harlington. Part of the route follows the John Bunyan Trail, which visits sites associated with the seventeenth century preacher and author of “Pilgrim’s Progress”.

The recommended lunch stop is The Cross Keys (01525 712442) in Pulloxhill. Those taking the first short cut towards Flitwick will miss out Pulloxhill and can lunch instead at The Chequers (01525 712967) in Westoning. A variety of tea stops in Harlington and Flitwick are described in the walk directions

You will need to download the walk directions.


Saturday, 23 November 2019

Saturday Walk – [New] The Hogsmill River and Nonsuch Park (Chessington to Cheam)

New Walk – Chessington South to Cheam
Length: 14.3 km (8.9 miles). Toughness: 2/10

10:17 Chessington South train from Waterloo (Vauxhall 10:21, Clapham Jct 10:26, etc), arriving Chessington South (TfL Zone 6) at 10:51. Buy a Zones 1-6 Travelcard or use Oyster PAYG.

Trains back from Cheam (Zone 5) go to Victoria at xx:08, xx:29, xx:38 & xx:59.

I'm pleased to say that we have a new walk author: a long-standing SWC member making her d├ębut with this varied and interesting south London walk. The morning section skirts the edge of a country park and continues through Hogsmill Local Nature Reserve to a lunch stop in the old village of Ewell. The afternoon section explores the historically interesting Nonsuch Park and ends with part of the Cheam Heritage Walk. [OS Map of route]

Remember that as usual there's no walk leader, so please bring a copy of the draft directions in this pdf document and/or a track of the route (including points of interest, refreshment places, etc) for your GPS device; you can download this in either gpx or kml format (right-click and Save As... should do it).

Saturday walk - Edenbridge to Westerham - Up and over the Greensand Ridge

Length: Options from 11.6km (7.2 miles) to 15km (9.3 miles) to 17.8km (11 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10, apart from the very longest option which is 8 out of 10 T=3.79

10.10 train from Charing Cross (10.13 Waterloo East, 10.19 London Bridge) to Tonbridge, changing there for the 11.01 to Edenbridge, arriving 11.16

Buy a day return to ‘Edenbridge stations’

For walk directions click here, for GPX click here, for a map of the route click here.

This walk is often done in bluebell time, but has not had a weekend outing at this time of year since 2012. There may not be much autumn colour left now, but this route passes through lots of woods where it might still be lurking. There are also fine escarpment views and a section across open fields at the start: the latter may be muddy, but once on the Greensand Ridge things should be better. It IS November, though: don’t come in your party shoes.

Lunch is usually (but see ** below for other options) taken after 4.2 miles in the self-service restaurant at Chartwell, country home of Winston Churchill (he was a famous predecessor of Boris Johnson, apparently...). After this you have a choice:

- A short ending to Westerham (with a new improved start never done by the SWC, incidentally) takes you to Westerham in just 4.8km (3 miles), making a total walk from Edenbridge of 11.6km (7.2 miles).

- Alternatively, if you continue on the main route but take the short cut to Emmetts Garden when prompted, you will do a total walk of 15km (9.3 miles). Normally the caveat against this short cut is that it goes through dull woods rather than dramatic escarpment scenery, but the woods might be rather picturesque at this time of year. This short cut certainly removes a big descent and ascent.

- Or do the whole main walk - 17.8km (11 miles) and a good strenuous work out.

** If you do either of the last two options, an alternative lunch stop is the Fox & Hounds pub,  6.4 miles into the walk, reached by a short diversion off the route. Directions linking this to the Emmetts short cut have now been added to the walk directions - 19 November 2019 version - and they are obvious from the map or GPX. On the full main walk only, a very late lunch (7.9 miles in) is possible at the Cock Inn in Ide Hill.

Westerham has bucketloads of tea options - pubs, tea rooms, Costas etc. An earlier tea on the two longer options is possible at Emmetts Garden, which bizarrely is open even in November (who on earth goes to a garden in November?): its cafe/kiosk is open till 4pm.

Return travel from Westerham is by bus. Three options, and probably not a vast amount of difference between them in terms of overall journey times.

- Bus 246 to Hayes station (26 minutes) or Bromley South at 22 and 52 past until 18.22 and then hourly at 22 past till late: Oyster etc is valid on this bus and the usual LT fare of £1.50 applies.  Rey frequent trains from Bromley South to Victoria (also some to Blackfriars). Whether your train ticket is valid via Bromley South I leave to others to say, but you can obviously use Oyster from there.

- Bus 594/595 to Oxted at 3.03, 4.33 and 5.33 (20 minutes journey time): Oxted has fairly frequent trains to East Croydon and on to Victoria or London Bridge and your return train ticket is valid.

- Bus number 1 to Sevenoaks station at 4.14 and 5.12 (20 minutes journey time): Sevenoaks has very frequent trains to London and your return train ticket is valid.

Saturday Walk - Bright Lights of Broadway (Moreton-in-Marsh to Broadway)

SWC 115:  Moreton-in-Marsh to Broadway via Blockley, Chipping Campden and Dover’s Hill (partially in reverse and partially map-led) T=SWC.115

Distance:  14 miles or 22.5 km for those more metrically minded (a shorter circular route of 12.4 miles/20km) back to Moreton-in-Marsh possible)

Difficulty: 6 out of 10 for Broadway route and 4 out of 10 for shorter circular route

Train:  Take the 9:22 AM* Great Western Worecester train from London Paddington, arriving at Moreton-in-Marsh at 10:59 AM.  Return trains from Moreton-in-Marsh are at 18:48; 19:48; 20:48 and 21:57. Buy a day return to Moreton-in-Marsh. The return trip will require a bus from Broadway (Bus No. 1 from in front of the Lygon Arms at 17:53) to Moreton-in-Marsh to connect with a train back to London.

*After careful consideration of the route, I am confident that walking at a modest pace should allow enough time to arrive in Broadway by 17:30 – faster walkers probably by 17:00….However, please keep track of the time and be on the road from Chipping Campden by 15:00!  For those wanting a more relaxed outing, more time in Broadway at the end or more light on the route down from Broadway Tower, you may want to consider taking the 8:22 train….

About this time last year, I posted this route to Broadway as an optional experiment….which we did and which worked out well…..really perfect for this time of year with a cheery ending in Broadway, twinkling with simple white lights through the village. For a twist this year, I am recommending starting off on the SWC 115 route (in reverse) via Blockley (which is the most scenic part of this route) then switch into the normal instructions at Broad Campden up to Chipping Camden for lunch and then on to Dover’s Hill.  From Dover’s Hill, we will follow the well-marked Cotswold Way to Broadway Tower and down to Broadway Village. 

More information on the walk and a route map can be found here. Please note that the ending to Broadway is map-led – essentially following the well-marked Cotswold Way from Dover’s Hill for 4.5 miles to Broadway Tower (and 1.5 miles further down to the village).

The recommended lunch pub is the Eight Bells (01386 840 371) in Chipping Campden (8 miles/13 km into the walk), a traditional inn serving innovative home-cooked food. However, there are various other options available in Chipping Campden. For those doing the shorter circular walk, the Bakers Arms in Broad Campden is the recommended point of call.

Tea or stronger stuff can be had at various locations in Broadway or back in Moreton-in-Marsh.

Enjoy the walk!

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

Wednesday Walk Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard - the Greensand Ridge, River Ouzel and the Grand Union Canal

Book 1 Walk 41 - Bow Brickhill to Leighton Buzzard

Length: 14.7 km (9.1 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10

London Euston: 10-15 hrs   West Midlands service to Crewe and Rugeley Trent Valley
Arrive Bletchley: 10-49 hrs   Change trains
Leave Bletchley : 11-01 hrs   Bedford branch line service
Arrive Bow Brickhill: 11-08 hrs


Leighton Buzzard to Euston:  16-34, 16-54, 17-07, 17-34, 17-55 and 18-09 hrs

Rail ticket: buy a day return to Bow Brickhill

The start of this walk is the same as for Bow Brickhill to Woburn Sands  (Book 1 Walk 17), that is , the route takes you up into Back Wood, which in winter can be muddy (of the slubberdub variety).
Once out of these woods the walks are totally different, with today's walk taking you through more woods (Buttermilk Wood then Duncombe Wood) on the level (and dryer underfoot) then through a farm until you head down a road into the village of Great Brickhill, where you stop for lunch at the  Old Red Lion pub, which serves good, honest pub grub. There are wonderful views from the pub's back garden terrace, but it might be a bit nippy to dine on the terrace today, so you might prefer to have lunch in the comfy indoor seating area by the bar or in the spacious restaurant cum dining area.
After lunch the walk continues through Rushmere Country Park, where you should be able to enjoy the last of this autumn's leaf colour, either from foliage still on oak and beech trees, or from carpets of leaves underfoot. This leg of the walk at this time of year is quite lovely. Onwards then to exit Rushmere Country Park to pick up the Greensand Ridge for a while. You then walk on a track above the River  Ouzel before dropping down at Corbetts Hill farm to cross water meadows, which can be soggy in winter. You now head up a bank to join the Grand Union Canal, for a relaxing canal-side walk all the way into Leighton Buzzard. At the start of your canal-side walk you come to the Globe Inn, your suggested tea stop (there are slim pickings in Leighton Buzzard). On reaching the town you encounter the only duff bit of today's walk - the mercifully short leg through the town's suburbs to the railway station.
This walk does not get many postings - so do enjoy it today.
Your Walk Directions are here: L=1.41

Sunday, 17 November 2019

Sunday Walk: Great Chesterford to Audley End

SWC walk 130
14.25 km 8.9 miles, finishing at Audley End
Difficulty 4/10
A varied walk through the rolling fields of north Essex to historic Saffron Walden. The town has many interesting features - half timbered buildings, an impressive church, the remains of a Norman castle, and an ancient turf labyrinth. The afternoon takes you through the parkland of Audley End then, mindful of the dwindling daylight, follows the shorter ending to Audley End station.
9:57 Cambridge North train from Liverpool Street (Tottenham  Hale 10:10), arriving Great Chesterford at 11:10.
Return from Audley End at xx:10 and xx:47.
Get a return to Great Chesterford.
Lunch: There's plenty of choice in Saffron Walden. The 8 Bells 01799 522790 is recommended.
Here's a couple more:-
The Cross Keys  (01799-522207) and a Wetherspoons, The Temeraire (01799-516975)
You pass the Fighting Cocks (01799-541279) on the way to Audley End station, alternatively, continue past the station turn-off to find The Bell (01799-540382), an attractive country pub. Both come recommended.
Audley End The gardens, stables. and service wing are open to visit 10-4  (£13:50 unless an English Heritage member). The house itself is closed at present.
Additional travel info:
If anyone is up for the whole 11.7 miles to Newport, trains leave there at xx:13.
Any Weary Willies wanting to finish early could take the two-hourly 132 bus from Saffron Walden to Great Chesterford station at 13:05, 15:05 17:05. (Unfortunately, once there, there's a 45 minute wait for the xx:04 to London).
Walk Directions here